Aisha Malik / The Silhouette


Young adults love to explore and find their true identity. There are many ways people define themselves as unique individuals. Some people use body piercings, dresses, hairstyles and body art.

Tattoos became a part of popular culture in the early 2000s for many young adults. This was a new era for people to share their life stories behind images they wanted to display on their bodies. However, on March 20, Hamilton Public Health Services issued a tattoo infection warning for people who got an unlicensed tattoo artist to perform on their body. This unnamed tattoo artist works from various private homes in Hamilton downtown. The artist was reusing needles and unhygienic tattoo art equipment.

These types of unsafe tattoo practices can put customers on high risk of blood infections such as Hepatitis B or C and HIV.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). The virus is in the blood or any body fluids containing blood. Hepatitis is contagious and the virus spreads through blood-to-blood contact by sharing needles and using the same utensils (straws, spoons, etc.). Many students focus heavily on their education to graduate on time, but in the process are not able to earn much income. Therefore, students seize on any opportunity to save money, buy discounted materials and goods or use discounted services. Most of the times students share foods and drinks among their friends because they trust them and to save money. However, many students do not realize how easily Hepatitis C could spread among people. Students trust their friends or tattoo artists who will give them discounts to perform tattoo designs without informing customers about their unhygienic equipment.

The tattoo artists who are reusing needles on clients has been a massive issue throughout the years. There was another incident on July 26, 2010 when City of Hamilton Public Health Services advised people about a tattoo artist who was practicing unsafe tattooing in downtown Hamilton.

These types of incidents can cause great risks to people’s health. Therefore, students who want to budget their money should always use precaution and find enough information before receiving a tattoo from a tattoo artist. Students should not feel hesitant to ask how long the tattoo artists have been doing body art work, the last time the tattoo equipment was being used, or how often they sanitize the seating area for the customer. These questions can help protect a person’s life and keep tattoo artists on their toes in order to make sure they follow all the safety requirements and regulations.

There are a few ways for students to reduce the spread of Hepatitis C. The most important thing is to never share needles, straws, spoons, water or any equipment. The one time-sharing with an individual can change your life forever. Hepatitis C can live on surfaces for up to four days; therefore, avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors and manicure equipment. No matter how close of a relationship you have with your friends or roommates, be courteous and have the will to refuse sharing anything. Succumbing to peer pressure is what causes the downfall for most college students to begin with. Some of the signs and symptoms to remember are nausea, stomach upset, itchy skin, jaundice and the yellowing of eyes and skin. Hamilton Public Health Services and your health care provider’s provide testing with Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines at no cost. This will help people protect their body from other Hepatitis viruses. However, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, so always remember that sharing is not the only way of caring.

Unsterilized needles have caused several deaths in Hamilton and continue to do so around the world. All it takes is a little bit of knowledge and correct decision making skills as this is the thin line between life and death. Finding tattoo artists that practice such unhygienic work not only has the potential to ruin what they make on your body being unlicensed, but can also give you a fatal disease. Prevention is better than a cure. However, if body art is a must for someone to showcase who they are, then it must be done under the supervision of a licensed expert.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

© 2023 The Silhouette. All Rights Reserved. McMaster University's Student Newspaper.